Macclesfield narrowly missed out at Priory Park as Richmond took home a 19-15 victory.
The Blues fought hard to keep a valuable bonus point, however it was the London side that came out on top.
“We couldn’t build our game because we constantly let the ball be turned over,” said Director of Rugby and Head Coach Geoff Wappett, “It’s been our enemy all season.
“Yes, in between some frustrating pieces we played some really good rugby, some good support but always seemingly just coming up short.
“We conceded two poor tries from lineouts; those tries should have been stopped at the source.”
Richmond opened the scoring after eight minutes when their captain William Warden carried the ball over the line in a maul.
Louis Grimoldby was on target with the conversion to give the visitors an early 7-0 lead.
Several chances for Macclesfield were stopped short as the Blues held possession and searched for a way through.
Richmond’s defence held strong and soon the ball was turned over, as a counter on the left wing was blocked by Blues full-back Jack Moorhouse.
After 20 minutes Ed Stobart caught the opposition off-guard, using his pace to blast past the defence and add his name to the score sheet.
Blues skipper Tom Eaton was narrowly off-target to miss the conversion as Blues trailed 5-7.
Richmond winger Will Browne almost gave Blues supporters a scare as he came close to latching onto a ball kicked into space down the right wing.
Moorhouse desperately dived to be the first to reach it and the ball went out for a lineout.
Ten minutes before half time Richmond took advantage of their set-piece routine once again, as Harison Edwards touched down from a driving maul down the right wing.
The conversion sailed wide as the Londoners increased their lead to 5-12.
On the half-time whistle the Blues fought back to equalise with Dave Marwick’s try converted by Eaton.
The two sides came out from the break at 12-12; however just two minutes into the second-half Richmond were awarded a penalty try for a foul conceded in a scrum.
Grimoldby converted to give Richmond a 12-19 lead as the visitors continued to look threatening.
Eaton’s penalty goal after 55 minutes was the consolation that gave Macclesfield a valuable bonus point.
The two sides were held at a stalemate for large periods of the second half, both sides coming close on several occasions.
The Blues were met with an injury-time push as Richmond hunted for their 4th try; however Macclesfield defended well to keep the score at 15-19 at full-time.
Geoff was disappointed with the outcome: “We damaged ourselves in the first ten to fifteen minutes; it’s easy for people to forget those minutes.
“We had most of the ball, we were playing quite tidily and we were looking alright but we also lost the ball with amazing consistency.
“In early stages of plays we were losing the ball and couldn’t build on the play. Despite this we got two good tries and at half-time it was 12-12.
“I thought Matt O’Regan looked very dynamic out wide, we needed to get it to him more often because he was having a good day.
“The set piece defence at the two lineouts was poor; as the ball’s thrown in and caught the person responsible there should have put the catcher to the ground immediately.
“However we allowed the maul to establish and the tries were scored, we should have done better there.
“Next week it doesn’t matter what the respective circumstances of the two teams are; that will be a hard game.
“They will expect a hard game from us, it is two north-west teams and everyone will be on their metal.
“Last year’s encounters were pretty similar where we looked strong for an hour and got the better of the forward exchanges, but they deservedly won both games.
“They know that they have to be careful; we could upset them. Tom Cruse will likely be fit for next week, and Matt Owen could return.
“Mike Finnemore will be another four to five weeks, while Dean Williams is only just starting to run again.”
Macclesfield travel away next to Fylde Rugby Club for a 3pm KO, to follow updates throughout the match visit our Twitter page here: https://twitter.com/MaccRUFC